OHIO: The Low (and High) Five

It was a tale of two halves in the opener of the O'Brien era, with a horrible second half marked with uninspired play and lackluster coaching resulting in a 24-14 loss to Ohio.

Penn State opened up their first campaign of 2012 with energy, innovation and excitement. The offense spread the ball around while the defense showed sharp, hard hitting and fundamentals. Then it all evaporated in the second half.

Low Five

Running on Empty: O'Brien stressed the key to PSU's offense being the run game. Unfortunately, the Lions were unable to find any consistency on the ground. Derek Day showed he was tough as nails after taking a helmetless head shot only to return. On the day he had eight carries for 36 yards. Bill Belton had some decent cuts periodically, but on the whole looked flat managing a mere 54 yards on 13 carries.

D-flated: The defense amazingly got man-handled on the line as the game wore on to a seemingly smaller, weaker Ohio offensive line. The front seven got no push and no pressure on the pocket. Michael Mauti tried to fire up his squad in the third, but giving up nearly 500 yards to a MAC team is...well there's no words for it.

Coughing Fit: On the first drive Matt McGloin, getting pulled to the ground, threw up a careless "panic pass," which PSU managed to get back. However, moments later Bill Belton coughed up the ball. Although it only led to three points it was a poor result given the tremendous focus the squad put on ball protections during camp.

Muff-led: As good as a linebacker Gerald Hodges is there is little logic as to why he is back returning punts. Forget the fact that he rarely handles the ball, he's simply not built for the position. Toss in the key muff that gave Ohio their first points and momentum. Granted he was finally pulled, but a poor coaching decision indeed.

No Change: Ohio went to their slant set again and again and again...and again. And yet we saw zero adjustments from Ted Roof and his staff. It's as if they had no idea what to do other than dial up an ineffective blitz.

Extra Point

No Return: I certainly get the idea of a feeling returnmen may have that they will bust open a play, but the kick return team rarely got to the 25 while taking the ball from the endzone. Take the 25 free yards.

High Five

Loud Crowd: All things considered the Penn State fans deserve a major shout out for showing up en masse for these players. There was a sea of Nittany Lions to greet the squad, which they more than deserved. I doubt there aew any other fan bases that would have kept the faith through all this like Nittany Nation. The question is whether the fans can maintain their support after this ugly loss.

Air Attack: With all the weak play in the second, the first half saw flashes of an exciting, diverse pass game with sharp routes and multiple looks and targets. A tip of the hat to Allen Robinson for grabbing nine catches for 97 yards.

Power Line: While the offense sputtered as the game wore on, the offensive line deserves a nod for providing strong pocket protection. Although they need to get it together on their run blocking.

A-Tackling: The overall tackling of the defense was more sharp and hard than in recent years. The aggression of the defense showed up early and was exciting. The requirement now is to carry that through four quarters.

Big Mac: Granted he ended with an ill-advised late interception, but Matt McGloin deserves a nod for his play. He spread the ball around to over eight receivers and did a better job with his patience and progression. He can't do it alone, and his receivers have to grab more of his balls but on the day he went 27 for 48 for 257 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT.

-30-


Fight On State Top Stories